27th Apr 2012 10:04am | By Louise Kingsley
Following hard on the heels of “An Instinct for Kindness,” (Chris Larner’s moving, factual account of his ex-wife’s final trip to Dignitas) John Caine’s short, fictional two-hander focusses on two people facing a similar situation.
But this version keeps the action firmly within the confines of their kitchen.
Two years previously, former solicitor Raymond was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given perhaps three years to live.
Now, at the age of sixty, confined to a motorised wheelchair and with only limited mobility in his hand and his neck, he’s had enough and wants to end it. Friends have all but stopped visiting, and their daughter, too, no longer makes the effort to drop by.
Antonia is worn down with the daily routine of dealing with soiled sheets and the preparation of the liquid meals her husband can only consume through a straw. But she isn’t yet ready to let to go - and her Catholic beliefs can’t be countered by Raymond’s legal arguments.
Real life husband and wife Peter Guinness and Roberta Taylor convince as the long-married couple facing the ultimate decision as they remember their early days together – his frustration boiling over into anger at his progressively helpless, hopeless state, her resentment at past hurts coming to the surface.
It’s a dreadful situation for both of them, and one which will doubtless become increasingly common as the population ages and medical intervention enables – or compels – more and more people to carry on living when their bodies are giving up.
Jermyn Street Theatre, SW1Y 6ST
020 7287 2875
Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Until May 5
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